Building Inter-University Collaborations: The University Research Corridor

URC Support for IT Sector in Michigan

Of nearly 150 start-ups the URC partners have helped create since 2001, about 40 percent have had an information and/or communication technology component. IT employs about 3.5 percent of the state's workforce, about 136,000 workers, and these employees earn about $20,000 per year more than other workers in the private sector.

Source: URC report: Information technology sector shows potential for Michigan. (2011, June 2). Lansing, MI: University Research Corridor. Retrieved from Information technology sector shows potential for Michigan

Michigan's University Research Corridor (URC), an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University, has a vision to help transform Michigan's economy. The three universities taken together represent an intellectual and economic engine for the state, generating a net economic impact greater than $14.8 billion.

Former WSU President Jay Noren, U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, and MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon share an informal conversation with the media at the URC headquarters in Lansing.

The URC is among the top R&D clusters in the nation (compared with regions such as Route 128 in Boston, Research Triangle in North Carolina, and Silicon Valley in Northern California) for producing patents, new business, and graduates with the hightech degrees needed in growing new fields. In addition, the three universities serve as a magnet in helping to attract and retain businesses in Michigan.

A series of URC benchmarking reports, based on studies by the Anderson Economic Group, show that the URC partners have improved in several key measures since the first study in 2007.

For example, the latest study shows that the URC's net economic impact on the state has grown from $12.9 billion to $14.8 billion since 2006. "Even as state support has dropped, Michigan's research universities remain the number one cluster in the U.S. in terms of enrollment, and number three in terms of high-tech degrees. These universities provide a net benefit to the state that is 16 times the cost to taxpayers. This gives Michigan the talented workforce we need for the jobs of tomorrow," said Patrick Anderson, founder and principal of Anderson Economic Group.

The URC is among the top R&D clusters in the nation for producing patents, new business, and graduates with the high-tech degrees needed in growing new fields.

The fourth annual Empowering Michigan report also demonstrates the URC's growth in areas such as research expenditures and technology transfer. It compares the universities' collective assets with other "knowledge regions" featuring research universities in close proximity.

"The URC has been a bright spot in the state's economic picture, even in the teeth of the recession. Michigan has the second fastest research and development growth rate among competitive innovation clusters," said URC executive director Jeff Mason. "Just as importantly, we're getting stronger relative to the competition, which puts us in a good position to help propel the state's economic growth in the future."

The report has tracked a significant increase in patents, licenses, and startup companies over the past four years, evidence of new initiatives the URC universities have undertaken to better support business growth. For more information visit



  1. University Research Corridor. (2010). Annual Report 2010: Empowering Michigan. Lansing, MI: Author. Retrieved from

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